Islamabad: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed on Wednesday announced the finalisation of the Main Line (ML-1) project between Pakistan and China – expected to be completed at a cost of USD 8.2 billion, according to news sources.
He expressed his views on the matter following his meeting with a group of Chinese officials. The railway minister is accompanying Prime Minister Imran Khan (PM) on his visit to China. He expressed appreciation for Prime Minister’s interest in the project. He said that the ML-1 was now taking a solid form after being in the works for 14 years.
Read: Development work on ML-I project to continue under CPEC
He announced the project would be completed in the next three to four years. Minister Rasheed said that he had shared the feasibility report of ML-2 (Fast Train) project with his Chinese counterpart, and planned to commence with the work after the completion of the ML-1 project.
He revealed that the ML-1 project would boost the speed to 120-160 km/h from 65-105 km/h and increase railways shares in freight transport from below 4% to 20% prompted by an increase in freight volume. Furthermore, he added that a new signalling system would also be implemented.
Read: Pakistan Railways fully supportive of CPEC projects: Rasheed
Minister Rasheed said that all the existing crossings would be abolished and no new crossing will be added to the new (1,800-kilometre-long) track between Karachi and Peshawar. Moreover, he expressed great hopes for the success of this project for the transport and trade sector.